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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  July 1, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm PDT

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>> to whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law, and supreme court's decision to uphold it. >> this week on "inside washington" -- the supreme court uphold president obama's health care law. >> what the court did not do in
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its last day in session i will do on my first day if elected president of the united states, and that is, i will act to repeal obamacare. >> the court hands down a split decision on immigration. >> it is a victory for the people of arizona and for america, and for the 10th amendment. >> and where does mitt romney stand with that one? >> we are left with a bit of a model. >> the house vote to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt. and the handshake that made history in northern ireland. >> 26 states challenged it, republicans hate it, mitt romney says he will get rid of it, the patient protection and
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affordable care act is president obama signature legislative achievement, but is it constitutional? according to chief justice roberts, who wrote the majority opinion upholding the law, yes and no. so much to talk about, so little time. let's begin with you, nina. did anyone expected to go this way? >> not any person predicted all of the twists and turns, the intellectual and jujitsu of this decision, what would be upheld 5-4, what would be struck down by a 7-2 vote. this was one of those wonderful days that the supreme court defied everybody's predictions, and it is why i love covering this institution. >> charles, your take? >> on the day of oral arguments, it seemed roberts was torn in two directions. on the one hand, he could not abide the defense of the act by
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the administration on the grounds of the commerce clause. he thought that was outrageous. on the other hand, he is a chief justice and has a reputation of the custodian of the courtand he remembers the bush v. gore abortion decision and how much strife that, when these decisions are seen as being partisan. i thought he had to choose. what he did -- which i thought was a great intellectual concoction -- was he managed to do both. he said the commerce clause did not apply, it would be unconstitutional under the commerce clause, and current profit this idea that it is mandated as a tax as a way to a bold the law, and that does not invite the objection of the partisan court acting on ideological grounds. >> colby? >> i do not know what the chief
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juice said about roe v wade, when he took that into account, whether or not he even concocted the argument about the tax. if you look and what was filed on behalf of the government, two approaches to upholding the individual mandate. when was the commerce clause approach. the other was through the tax code. this was a position advanced by the government, it was stated. the chief justice of the knowledge it. that is the correct position to take. i do not see the big mystery there. >> marc? >> my take is two fold. first of all, or those of my friends to respect and rear the constitution of the united states, three bridges, legislative, congress, executive, the president, the traditional, the supreme court. all three have acted. can we now accept it? the affordable care act has been
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passed by the congress, signed by the president, upheld by the supreme court. let's move on. number two, this is an important issue. this was a central issue of the campaign in 2008. both sides vow to do something about it. this came out of an urgent need in the people. the leading cause of bankruptcy in america was a serious illness, unable to pay for, people falling out of the middle class, losing their homes because of illness or lack of coverage. this addresses that and i hope the administration will finally rammed this moment to sell their case. the president started doing it on thursday in his statement to talk about what is in it. unfortunately, other than pre- existing conditions and your children being able to stay on until 26, no one knows what is in the bill. >> he means congress did this, the president did this, you may
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or may not like it. the suggestion is, i may not like it, but that is not my job. my job is to say whether it is constitutional. the president has a chance to figure out again how to sell this. say to people, for instance, this is a no free rider fee, so that other people do not have to -- you do not have to pay for others care. so far, the administration has failed to do that. they lost the broccoli argument. they have to figure out their own broccoli argument. >> when you analyze chief justice roberts reasoning, he is pretty conservative, isn't he? >> that is why he did it this way. he decides to uphold the law, but he does not want it to be on the grounds of the commerce clause.
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as conservative justices say, correctly, if you allow that, there are no constraints on what congress can do. he writes it in a way that is extremely narrow but calls a mandate a tax, which is a concoction. when you get a speeding ticket, it is not called a speeding tax, it is called a speeding ticket. the reason there is a difference between a tax and a penalty -- a tax is to raise revenue, penalty is to punish you can change behavior. what the mandate does retain the purpose is not to raise revenue for the treasury. it is to compel people to go out and buy health insurance. >> what is the purpose of a tax on cigarettes? it is not to raise revenues, it is to discourage people from smoking. >> that is right. but the principal purpose of any tax is to collect money for the treasury. the principal purpose -- >> the tax on cigarettes --
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>> even the administration itself has said repeatedly it is not a tax, it is a penalty. >> the president said that it was not a tax increase. we can fight about the semantics. chief justice's opinion, the four conservatives that would have struck down the bill in its entirety, had a much more wide- ranging view of what you could not do under the commerce clause than he did. he wrote for himself only on that. the temple your liberals would have upheld the commerce clause. and then the five and a majority agreed, this looks like a tax, walks like a tax, collected by the irs, it is based on income, and therefore, we will view it as a tax, which initially the administration did but did not want to take the political heat. >> easily the most gratuitous
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advice of the week to indicate the surprise the decision that this was. my good friend, house speaker john boehner, instructed his colleagues, do not look at the time of the decision. they did not. i saw very little gloating. >> it makes no difference who collects the tax or penalty. it is still either a tax or penalty. secondly, roberts made a point in his position, an argument saying why you cannot apply the commerce clause, and if you do, it would be unconstitutional. that is the conservative position unchanged. >> let's go to more of the ruling. house speaker john boehner air. house republicans are not taking this lying down. they have already scheduled a repeal vote for the week of july
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9. does thi debate start all over again? today somehow come to terms on this issue? >> miraculously, they did good work on student loans and highway bill. short progress. this is an interesting issue politically. the belief has been at the losing side in this gets the energy. i think that is true in most legal cases. certainly, the political energy that one can see from roe v. wade some 30 years later. on this one, it is a bit of a problem for john boehner because his base is not only outraged, they are furious at this decision. john boehner does not want this election to be about health care. he wanted to be about the economy, and that is where he wants to be on the defensive. if anything, the president has
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the advantage of being on the an advantage of healthcare. >> does and does work for mitt romney? >> if mitt romney had his way, and this bill was repealed, 3.1 million young adults would be shoved off their parents plans. if he gets his way, 5 million medicare beneficiaries who save more than $5.2 billion in prescription drugs could lose that. you could go down the list. this is what the administration has to talk about. >> from the president postboy perspective, mitt romney got his way in massachusetts. >> in some ways, he is the worst person to make making this argument. he is a man that insisted on the mandate in his state, has a program in massachusetts that is wildly popular now, now that it has gone into effect.
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was not so popular initially. the cost of it went up, and then it flattened. it has been incredibly successful, more than 70% approval rating, and this program, what they call obamacare, is modeled on romneycare in massachusetts appeare. >> obama gets the initial boost. he avoided a calamity. had he lost, it would have looked like he spent a year and a half on something that he should have known about, constitutional law. yes, republicans do not like it. the individual mandate, he has a hard time arguing because he supported it, that is no longe an issue. now is a policy issue. is this going to be a good idea? re a lot of
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arguments that romney can make. there is an 11-point spread betwee people who support obamacare, those who do not, republicans exploit that. in the state of the union address, the president gave one line to obamacare. why? signature achievement? he knows it is a losing issue. >> it was 5-3, so both roberts and kennedy sided with the liberals. justice keegan was reduced in this case. they struck down most of the arizona law, upon the show me your papers provision, but with so many caveat, it is a very circumscribed way to be enforced. if you have to rate it, i would say it was 80% loss for the state, the matter how many times we say it was a victory. just by the sound and the theory of justice scalia pasta vents,
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you can tell who won and who lost. >> the combination of the decision on immigration and president obama's executive orders, it pulls out a run out of someone from -- rug out from under someone like marco rubio. >> where do you go on this now if you are mitt romney? >> it has not been a great week for mitt romney. you could see it again o immigration, his discomfort when the decision came out. there is some impetus, i think, from people who may be thought this was unconstitutional, will look of this decision in health care and say, if it is constitutional, maybe i ought to look at it more seriously. >> on the immigration mitt
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romney has to be happy that health care came up and said of immigration. one anecdote that happened on health care on thursday. it was a magic moment, i thought. nancy pelosi, who is more responsible for passing health care than anyone else, lost your speakership in the process, she was on her way to the democratic caucus. she went up to george miller, the congressman from california. what great news, she says. george says, you bet your ass. she said, i did. >> could i take 30 seconds? to correct all the errors that we have made about the immigration campaign. number one, it was 5-3 in three provisions. on the central division in the law, show me your papers, it was a unanimousa decision against te
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administration. the legal arguments says the administration is not able to distinguish between the law and its policies. the point is, the administration is saying we do not want to enforce immigration. if you, that is an intention on our prerogative. >> this is an objective analysis. >> show me where i am wrong. >> as nina said, that position is so nuanced, they clearly expected -- >> the chair recognizes your descent, but we have to move on. it was a unanimous decision. >> i read the decision, when we talked about this particular provision, they said it had not been tested, it is likely to be tested and challenged, through
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the white it is enforced, and we do not know what will ultimately happen to the provision. it may come back. we know darn well it will be challenged. it will be challenged and it probably will not hold. >> what the justice said for the whole court was, this law has been represented to us as a right to communicate. the state government communicate with the federal government saying, is this individual legal in your country? that is a complete right. it would be wrong to say you cannot do that. however, you cannot hold people for an unreasonable period of time. if you think you are targeting them based on ethnicity, you are in trouble. >> what about the politics of this thing? >> the politics simply are killing mitt romney. there was a pull from "wall street journal" analyzing those
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numbers. overwhelmingly, the country, by a margin of better than three- one, endorsed what the president has done on immigration. undocumented immigrants who are here, who were brought here against their will, kids, those who have grown up in high schools, military, they see the fairness and decency of it. mitt romney has not simply been wobbly on it, he has been absolutely vague and contradictory and week. >> let me hear from charles -- >> 20% of the country is strongly opposed to what the president did. we know who they are. that is not an extending group. switching the subject parts to run the's advantage. >> mark is right about the politics of it. what obama did in unilaterally
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enacting the dream act, which congress rejected, was politically astute. it does not concern my colleagues here, but this is completely lawless. he said twice last year, in public, that doing it, exactly the way he did, would be unconstitutional because his job was to execute the laws. if congress had to enact them, it had not enacted it. nonetheless, the politics was a very smart. rubio was working on something like this that would have that support fromoth parties which would been a coup, but it is now a dead letter. romney was happy that at least health care really came down midweek and drowned the entire immigration discussion. >> both houses in congress stop -- in congress passed the dream act. it was stopped by a small group
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of mean-spirited republicans. >> a law that does not pass the senate is not a lot. -- not a law. >> you cannot say that contradicted. you cannot say that. the dream act was filibustered by a couple of republicans in the u.s. senate. the house passed it several times.
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have gotten his base back. they are morethe senate was pres it but the republicans filibustered. >> could i make a quick point? this week, between immigration and health-care laws, the president may excited than they were. latinos had been under-voting. this may help them wrote in larger numbers. >> a sitting attorney general had never been held in contempt of congress until now. >> today is the regrettable combination of what became a misguided and politically motivated investigation during an election year. >> the house made history by voting to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress, accusing him of refusing to hand over documents related to the fast and furious operation. certain members of the house walked out what they were taking the vote. what is the point of this? >> i would like to make two points. the point of this is politics. the nra is scoring it. i would like to point out, this came six or seven days after the committee vote, when the committee voted to side. myers from the bush administration. that took six months. i do not think the administration, in the same way
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that dick cheney did not, has made a good case, public case, so why not turn this stuff over? >> because there was no coverage of this issue for about a year and a half. we have to explain all the background. the reason they are asking for the papers it is because in february 2011, the administration issued a letter that was paul's, which said there was no gun walking. it collected it in december. the papers are about february until december 2011. the cover-up of what happened. that is what holder is withholding. it is a clear stone wall in the watergate tradition. >> everybody on fox, from the sun comes up to when it goes
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down -- the power of fox. tható said, this is an abomination. this is the same house of representatives that fail to see the full -- that allowed to see the credit of the u.s. go down last year. >> no fox in the chicken coop. let's confront this. >> chickens are tasty. >> this is a fascinating political moment. the compressed time on moving on this -- but at the same time, i find very little reservoir of good feeling toward the justice department among the democrats. i think one of the reasons is, it is the failure to go after wall street and to put some of sob's in000-a soupsob's
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handcuffs. >> we have suffered, she has suffered any loss from her family. >> that is the northern ireland deputy minister. he shook hands with the queen appeared he is a former ira commander. an amazing moment. >> an amazing moment. it is hope everywhere. because of this, hope in the middle east. let this be an inspiration. i will say a word for the queen. she has never been on my dance card, but i have to admit, this is a woman who shows a sense of leadership and history, and a sense of magnanimity, because it was the ira killed her cousin. >> who was responsible for the marriage to prince philip. an historic moment. >> i agree with mark.
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it tells us that it is still possible for people to come together. if it can happen there, why can in the middle east? >> i will tell you why. it is the end of the catholic- protestant wars. that is what that handshake is. the war between islam and the rest of the world, testing the borders, the borders are still bloody and raging because it still feels that has been demoted and oppressed and dominated. that will continue in our lifetime. >> i agree with everybody but i think the queen is a class act. maybe she should send some of her hats over to the middle east. >> i have done some reporting on this. if you have told me that one day marked mcginnis and the queen would shake hands, i would say to you, what are you smoking? >> which is a good time --
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question at any time on this show. >> see you next week.
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